Omnivium by German technical death metal band Obscura is one of the most highly anticipated releases of this year. Two years ago they managed to cause quite a stir with Cosmogenesis, their second album. It was stuck to the brim with virtuoso death metal captured in very memorable songs. Omnivium marks the return of Steffen Kummerer and Co, so let’s see whether they’re to maintain their position as one of the best bands within the genre.
After a couple of spins I can only conclude that Omnivium is every bit as good as Cosmogenesis, arguably even better. The basic formula is still very much intact, however the band opted for a more progressive and experimental direction. This new found progressive urge is manifested in the longer tracks, like Septuagint, Prismal Dawn, A Transcendental Serenade and Aevum. All the aforementioned songs feature extended acoustic guitar parts, melodic parts and clean vocoder processed vocals in the best Cynic tradition.
Omnivium has its share of shorter and more aggressive tracks as well. Vortex Omnivium and Euclidian Elements are great examples of that. Ocean Gateways reminds me a lot of Where The Slime Lives by Morbid Angel. It has the same slimy vibe and build-up. Celestial Sphere has a typical Cynic feel to it and could easily have been included on Traced In Air. Besides the more adventurous direction there’s another change as well. Jeroen Paul Thesseling’s bass playing isn’t as prominently featured in the mix as on the previous record.
The production of Omnivium is as fine as ever. The sound is crystal clear, but also heavy enough to maintain the aggressive death metal edge.
Omnivium shows a more refined and progressive side of Obscura. They’ve managed to retain their core sound, but they have brought it to a whole new level. I have a gut feeling this record will be regarded as a classic in the not too distant future…
Written by Raymond Westland